We must understand the true nature of virtue and sin if we would practice virtue and avoid sin

October 31, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 321

In the “Memorial of a Christian Life” we treated of this subject, and gave a number of remedies against sin in general. Our intention at present is to give special remedies applicable to particular sins, such as pride, covetousness, anger, or revenge.

By this means we hope to supply each one with the medicine necessary for his infirmities, and with aims suitable for engaging in this warfare.

Before entering upon this subject it is important to observe that in this spiritual combat we have more need of eyes than of hands and feet.

The eyes, which signify vigilance, are the principal weapons to be used in this war, which is waged, not against flesh and blood, but against the malice of the evil spirits. The reason of this is because the first source of sin is error in the understanding, which is the natural guide and counsellor of the will.

Consequently the chief endeavor of the devil is to darken the understanding, and thus draw the will into the same error. Thus he clothes evil with the appearance of good, and presents vice under the mask of virtue, that we may regard it as a counsel of reason rather than a temptation of the enemy.

When we are tempted to pride, anger, ambition, or revenge, he strives to make us believe that our desire is just, and that not to follow it is to act against the dictates of reason. Man, therefore, must have eyes to perceive the perfidious hook which is concealed beneath the tempting bait, that he may not be misled by vain appearances.

This clearness of mental vision is also necessary to enable the Christian to appreciate the malice and hideousness of sin, and the dangers to which it will expose us. Seeing the evil, we must restrain our appetites, and fear to taste the poison which will immediately cause death.

We also gather this lesson from that passage in Holy Scripture [Ezech. i. 18.] which speaks of those mysterious creatures, figures of the just, which had eyes all over their bodies, for in them we find a striking symbol of that watchful vigilance which the Christian must constantly exercise to avoid the snares of vice.

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